Congressman in Bolivia proposes sanctions against media owners as part of constitutional reforms

A federal representative in Bolivia recently proposed to include sanctions against the owners of media outlets in the draft of the new Social Communication and Information Act, currently being discussed in the country, the website Medios Latinos reported.

El Diario newspaper reported that for Galo Bonifaz, a congressman with the political party Movement Toward Socialism (or MAS in Spanish), “media workers haven’t committed any mistakes because they only transmit what the authorities say; however, the owners of media outlets are the ones who define the (editorial) line.”

Bonifaz added that it is necessary to evaluate media outlets’ “true role” and the quality and veracity of the information they reproduce.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the National Press Association, Juan León, said the bill that aims to replace the old Press Law should respect the freedoms of expression and the press above all, according to radio station FM Bolivia.

“Freedom of the press also implies freedom for the company […] Media owners have the right to choose the ideological-political tendency of their company,” the radio station said.

The Social Communication and Information Act, newspaper La Patria reported, is part of the legislative agenda of the MAS, which includes a series of laws that must be elaborated to implement the new political constitution of Bolivia.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.